The summer league season is winding down for the Laguna Beach High baseball program and for Coach Jeff Sears, this past month hasn't had anything to do with wins and losses.
It's been about the investment given and the lessons learned by the players who participated in the summer session.
"Any time you can get the kids to come out, to gain valuable learning experience, is huge for us," Sears said. "The kids who came out did a great job of wanting to learn. You could see the effort they put forth.
"For me, summer is all about how many innings a player can get in. Get them in a game, and get them in motion."
Sears said that all but two players, from the freshmen level through varsity, participated in the summer program.
"I was very pleased with the turnout," he said. "Everyone played in some way shape or form. The great thing is that the kids are developing listening skills. They want to learn now, try to find ways to get better, make themselves noticed on the field. They are starting to realize that you need to practice, in order to get better and become a force on the field."
The summer session included a two-week camp for incoming freshmen that wrapped up recently. The 10 freshmen were taken through their paces by sophomores who experienced the program for the first time last summer.
"The freshmen need to learn how to adjust to our practice schedule, which is different," Sears said. "Ours is a little more upbeat and at a different pace than the way most other teams practice. Our sophomore players were able to help the incoming freshmen along. We have a couple of good incoming freshmen who can really play."
Once the camp was over, Sears said that he threw a few freshmen and sophomores "into the fire," and had them play with the varsity during summer league games.
Laguna played summer league games primarily against south coast teams.
"Our goal was that what we did this summer would help build for the future," Sears said. "It was all about how these kids developed, how they learned and how they competed. These kids have invested their time in this and they should take pride in that.
"Summer ball is over … and then it's time for them to just be kids again and have the remainder of summer off. Once school starts in September, though, we'll be back at it again."